Harry Miers and the Israeli Heter-o-dox Problem II

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2 Responses

  1. Steve Gross says:

    As a former short-term student of Rabbi Golinkin’s, I can readily attest to the fact that he is a highly intelligent, learned, warm and decent man – a true living model of Judaism. The author spends most of this article making ad hominem attacks on Rabbi Golinkin, citing the average Israeli’s intuition and repeating decades-old gossip about the Conservative movement, all with a not-too-gentle mocking tone. While repeatedly claiming that Rabbi Golinkin makes numerous halachic errors, he fails to explain a single one of them.

    Your forum asks us readers to make comments that are “on-topic, polite and address ideas rather than personalities”. Too bad that that the author fails in every one of these categories.

  2. Yaakov Menken says:

    I read Eytan’s post and Steve’s comment, and almost wonder if the latter was actually a reply to the former.

    A criticism of another’s writing does not become ad hominem simply because it is sharply-worded or employs sarcasm. Nowhere does Eytan question Golinkin’s character or personality — merely the attitudes towards the Orthodox expressed in Rabbi Golinkin’s writing, all of which Mr. Kobre amply documents.

    He merely alludes to Golinkin’s “Halachic errors” only because elaboration would be superfluous. If indeed Golinkin claimed that the concept that “the Halacha developed from generation to generation and from country to country” is an assertion of the Conservative movement, no one in a position to analyze the correctness of this statement could have any doubt as to its error. If Chanukah isn’t a sufficient counter-proof, the Ashkenazi avoidance of legumes on Pesach certainly is.

    As for Golinkin’s statement that “Conservative rabbis place great emphasis on the moral component of Judasim and the halacha,” this is, as Eytan said, an implied libel — any direct reply would be counter-productive. You may have found him warm and decent in person, but it is the writer of that remark that needs a gentle reminder to stay polite and critique ideas rather than personalities.

    Had Rabbi Golinkin not stooped to something quite so egregious, I too would have expected more gentle cynicism. But by comparison to that level of nastiness, to be dismissed with a wave of “poppycock” and a reference to a “glassine abode” is a level of politeness worthy of gentry.

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